The Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, has proved more than eventful. Amid allegations of Melania Trump plagiarizing her speech, the absence of notable figures in the party, protests in the city, and a shouting match on the convention floor—a nominee emerged. Donald J. Trump was (finally) formally confirmed as the party’s candidate for the presidency.
But while the event has provided plenty of political drama, it’s been mostly smooth sailing logistically. For The Atlantic’s series of interviews with American workers, I spoke withBrittany Williams, the senior project manager for the Cleveland 2016 Host Committee, who knows all of the preparation that it took to get Cleveland ready for the influx of 50,000 people into a city that normally houses almost 400,000. Some members of her team have been working for two years coordinating everything from welcome events to traffic patterns to security for the city. The interview that follows has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
Adrienne Green: How did you get this job and how long in advance did you start working on the convention that’s going on this week?
Brittany Williams: I was brought on as the senior project manager of the Host Committee in May of 2015. My background is actually in politics, prior to this position. I was the executive director for the Republican Party of Cuyahoga County, and also did fundraising and worked in the treasurer's office. In 2014, I was a delegate to the Tampa convention. A lot of [the reason I was hired] was being able to navigate both worlds. So this job was perfect, because I'm getting to work with all of those civic partners while still working on events that are still political—even though we aren’t coordinating the political programming. I understand the RNC; I understand the players; I understand the structure; I understand and know who's doing what and why.